Unto whom it was revealed - We may presume that, in a great variety of cases, the prophets did not understand the meaning of their own predictions. They had a general view of God's designs; but of particular circumstances, connected with those great events, they seem to have known nothing, God reserving the explanation of all particulars to the time of the issue of such prophecies. When they wished to find out the times, the seasons, and the circumstances, God gave them to understand that it was not for themselves, but for us, that they did minister the things which are now reported unto us by the preaching of the Gospel. This was all the satisfaction they received in consequence of their earnest searching; and this was sufficient to repress all needless curiosity, and to induce them to rest satisfied that the Judge of all the earth would do right. If all succeeding interpreters of the prophecies had been contented with the same information relative to the predictions still unaccomplished, we should have had fewer books, and more wisdom.
Angels desire to took into - Παρακυψαι· To stoop down to; the posture of those who are earnestly intent on finding out a thing, especially a writing difficult to be read; they bring it to the light, place it so that the rays may fall on it as collectively as possible, and then stoop down in order to examine all the parts, that they may be able to make out the whole. There is evidently an allusion here to the attitude of the cherubim who stood at the ends of the ark of the covenant, in the inner tabernacle, with their eyes turned towards the mercy-seat or propitiatory in a bending posture, as if looking attentively, or, as we term it, poring upon it. Even the holy angels are struck with astonishment at the plan of human redemption, and justly wonder at the incarnation of that infinite object of their adoration. If then these things be objects of deep consideration to the angels of God, how much more so should they be to us; in them angels can have no such interest as human beings have.
We learn from the above that it was the Spirit of Christ in the Jewish prophets that prophesied of Christ; it was that Spirit which revealed him; and it is the same Spirit which takes of the things of Christ, and shows them unto us. Christ was never known by prophecy, but through his own Spirit; and he never was known, nor can be known, to the salvation of any soul, but by a revelation of the same Spirit. It is he alone that bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.
Unto whom it was revealed - They were not permitted to know fully the import of the predictions which they were made the instruments of communicating to mankind, but they understood that they were intended for the benefit of future ages.
That not unto themselves - We are not to suppose that they derived no benefit from their own predictions; for, as far as they understood the truth, it was as much adapted to sanctify and comfort them as it is us now: but the meaning is, that their messages had reference mainly to future times, and that the full benefit of them would be experienced only in distant ages. Compare Hebrews 11:39-40.
Unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you - Not unto us by name, but their ministrations had reference to the times of the Messiah; and those to whom Peter wrote, in common with all Christians, were those who were to enjoy the fruits of the communications which they made. The word reported means announced, or made known.
By them that have preached the gospel unto you - The apostles, who have made known unto you, in their true sense, the things which the prophets predicted, the import of which they themselves were so desirous of understanding.
With the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven - Accompanied by the influences of the Holy Spirit bearing those truths to the heart, and confirming them to the soul. It was the same Spirit which inspired the prophets which conveyed those truths to the souls of the early Christians, and which discloses them to true believers in every age. Compare John 16:13-14; Acts 2:4; Acts 10:44-45. The object of Peter by thus referring to the prophets, and to the interest which they took in the things which those to whom he wrote now enjoyed, seems to have been, to impress on them a deep sense of the value of the gospel, and of the great privileges which they enjoyed. They were reaping the benefit of all the labors of the prophets. They were permitted to see truth clearly, which the prophets themselves saw only obscurely. They were, in many respects, more favored than even those holy men had been. It was for them that the prophets had spoken the word of the Lord: for them and their salvation that a long line of the most holy men that the world ever saw, had lived, and toiled, and suffered; and while they themselves had not been allowed to understand the fall import of their own predictions, the most humble believer was permitted to see what the most distinguished prophet never saw. See Matthew 13:17.
Which things the angels desire to look into - The object of this reference to the angels is the same as that to the prophets. It is to impress on Christians a sense of the value of that gospel which they had received, and to show them the greatness of their privileges in being made partakers of it. It had excited the deepest interest among the most holy men on earth, and even among the inhabitants of the skies. They were enjoying the full revelation of what even the angels had desired more fully to understand, and to comprehend which they had employed their great powers of investigation. The things which are here referred to, εἰς ἅ eis ha- unto which) are those which the prophets were so desirous to understand - the great truths respecting the sufferings of Christ, the glory which would follow, and the nature and effects of the gospel. In all the events pertaining to the redemption of a world they felt a deep interest.
The word which is rendered “to look,” ( παρακύψσαι parakupsaiis rendered “stooping down,” and “stooped down,” in Luke 24:12; John 20:5, John 20:11; looketh, in James 1:25; and look, in the place before us. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It properly means, to stoop down near by anything; to bend forward near, in order to look at anything more closely - Robinson, Lexicon. It would denote that state where one, who was before at so great a distance that he could not clearly see an object, should draw nearer, stooping down in order that he might observe it more distinctly. It is possible, as Grotius supposes, that there may be an allusion here to the posture of the cherubim over the mercy-seat, represented as looking down with an intense gaze, as if to behold what was in the ark. But it is not necessary to suppose that this is the allusion, nor is it absolutely certain that that was the posture of the cherubim. See the notes at Hebrews 9:5. All that is necessarily implied in the language is, that the angels had an intense desire to look into these things; that they contemplated them with interest and fixed attention, like one who comes near to an object, and looks narrowly upon it. In illustration of this sentiment, we may make the following suggestions:
I. The angels, doubtless, desire to look into all the manifestations of the character of God, wherever those manifestations are made:
(1)It is not unreasonable to suppose that, to a great degree, they acquire the knowledge of God as all other creatures do. They are not omniscient, and cannot be supposed to comprehend at a glance all his doings.
(2)they doubtless employ their faculties, substantially as we do, in the investigation of truth; that is, from things known they seek to learn those that are even unknown.
(3)it is not unreasonable to suppose that there are many things in relation to the divine character and plans, which they do not yet understand. They know, undoubtedly, much more than we do; but there are plans and purposes of God which are yet made known to none of his creatures. No one can doubt that these plans and purposes must be the object of the attentive study of all holy created minds.
(4)they doubtless feel a great interest in the welfare of other beings - of their fellow-creatures, wherever they are. There is in the universe one great brotherhood, embracing all the creatures of God.
(5)they cannot but feel a deep interest in man - a fallen creature, tempted, suffering, dying, and exposed to eternal death. This they have shown in every period of the world‘s history. See the notes at Hebrews 1:14.
II. It is probable, that in each one of the worlds which God has made, there is some unique manifestation of his glory and character; something which is not to be found at all in any other world, or, if found, not in so great perfection; and that the angels would feel a deep interest in all these manifestations, and would desire to look into them:
(1) This is probable from the nature of the case, and from the variety which we see in the form, size, movements, and glory of the heavenly orbs. There is no reason to suppose, that on any one of those worlds all the glory of the divine character would be manifest, which he intends to, make known to the universe.
(2) this is probable from what we can now see of the worlds which he has made. We know as yet comparatively little of the heavenly bodies, and of the manifestations of the Deity there; and yet, as far as we can see, there must be far more striking exhibitions of the power, and wisdom, and glory of God, in many or most of those worlds that roll above us, than there are on our earth. On the body of the sun - on the planets Jupiter and Saturn, so vast in comparison with the earth - there must be far more impressive exhibitions of the glory of the Creator, than there is on our little planet. Saturn, for example, is 82,000 miles in diameter, 1,100 times as large as our earth; it moves at the rate of 22,000 miles an hour; it is encircled by two magnificent rings, 5,000 miles apart, the innermost of which is 21,000 miles from the body of the planet, and 22,000 miles in breadth, forming a vast illuminated arch over the planet above the brightness of our moon, and giving a most beautiful appearance to the heavens there. It is also, doubtless, true of all the worlds which God has made, that in each one of them there may be some unique manifestation of the glory of the Deity.
(3) the universe, therefore, seems suited to give eternal employment to mind in contemplating it; and, in the worlds which God has made, there is enough to employ the study of his creatures forever. On our own world, the most diligent and pious student of the works of God might spend many thousand years, and then leave much, very much, which he did not comprehend; and it may yet be the eternal employment of holy minds to range from world to world, and in each new world to find much to study and to admire; much that shall proclaim the wisdom, power, love, and goodness of God, which had not elsewhere been seen.
(4) our world, therefore, though small, a mere speck in creation, may have something to manifest the glory of the Creator which may not exist in any other. It cannot be its magnitude; for, in that respect, it is among the smallest which God has made. It may not be the height and the majesty of our mountains, or the length and beauty of our rivers, or the fragrance of our flowers, or the clearness of our sky; for, in these respects, there may be much more to admire in other worlds: it is the exhibition of the character of God in the work of redemption; the illustration of the way in which a sinner may be forgiven; the manifestation of the Deity as incarnate, assuming permanently a union with one of his own creatures. This, so far as we know, is seen in no other part of the universe; “and this is honor enough for one world.” To see this, the angels may be attracted down to earth. When they come, they come not to contemplate our works of art, our painting and our sculpture, or to read our hooks of science or poetry: they come to gather around the cross, to minister to the Saviour, to attend on his steps while living, and to watch over his body when dead; to witness his resurrection and ascension, and to bless, with their offices of kindness, those whom he died to redeem, Hebrews 1:4.
III. What, then, is there in our world which we may suppose would attract their attention? What is there which they would not see in other worlds? I answer, that the manifestation of the divine character in the plan of redemption, is that which would especially attract their attention here, and lead them from heaven down to earth:
(1) The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God would be to them an object of the deepest interest. This, so far as we know, or have reason to suppose, has occurred nowhere else. There is no evidence that in any other world God has taken upon himself the form of one of his own creatures dwelling there, and stooped to live and act like one of them; to mingle with them; to share their feelings; and to submit to toil, and want, and sacrifice, for their welfare.
(2) the fact that the guilty could be pardoned would attract their attention, for:
(a) it is elsewhere unknown, no inhabitant of heaven having the need of pardon, and no offer of pardon having been made to a rebel angel.
(b) There are great and difficult questions about the whole subject of forgiveness, which an angel could easily see, but which he could not so easily solve. How could it be done consistently with the justice and truth of God? How could he forgive, and yet maintain the honor of his own law, and the stability of his own throne? There is no more difficult subject in a human administration than that of pardon; and there is none which so much perplexes those who are entrusted with executive power.
(3) the way in which pardon has been shown to the guilty here would excite their deep attention. It has been in a manner entirely consistent with justice and truth; showing, through the great sacrifice made on the cross, that the attributes of justice and mercy may both be exercised: that, while God may pardon to any extent, he does it in no instance at the expense of justice and truth. This blending of the attributes of the Almighty in beautiful harmony; this manifesting of mercy to the guilty and the lost; this raising up a fallen and rebellious race to the favor and friendship of God; and this opening before a dying creature the hope of immortality, was what could be seen by the angels nowhere else: and hence, it is no wonder that they hasten with such interest to our world, to learn the mysteries of redeeming love. Every step in the process of recovering a sinner must be new to them, for it is unseen elsewhere; and the whole work, the atonement, the pardon and renovation of the sinner, the conflict of the child of God with his spiritual foes, the supports of religion in the time of sickness and temptation, the bed of death, the sleep in the tomb, the separate flight of the soul to its final abode, the resurrection of the body, and the solemn scenes of the judgment, all must open new fields of thought to an angelic mind, and attract the heavenly inhabitants to our world, to learn here what they cannot learn in their own abodes, however otherwise bright, where sin, and suffering, and death, and redemption are unknown. In view of these truths we may add:
(1) The work of redemption is worthy of the study of the profoundest minds. Higher talent than any earthly talent has been employed in studying it; for, to the most exalted intellects of heaven, it has been a theme of the deepest interest. No mind on earth is too exalted to be engaged in this study; no intellect here is so profound that it would not find in this study a range of inquiry worthy of itself.
(2) this is a study that is especially appropriate to man. The angels have no other interest in it than that which arises from a desire to know God, and from a benevolent regard for the welfare of others; we have a personal interest in it of the highest kind. It pertains primarily to us. The plan was formed for us. Our eternal all depends upon it. The angels would be safe and happy it they did not fully understand it; if we do not understand it, we are lost forever. It has claims to their attention as a wonderful exhibition of the character and purposes of God, and as they are interested in the welfare of others; it claims our attention because our eternal welfare depends on our accepting the offer of mercy made through a Saviour‘s blood.
(3) how amazing, then, how wonderful, is the indifference of man to this great and glorious work! How wonderful, that neither as a matter of speculation, nor of personal concern, he can be induced “to look into these things!” How wonderful that all other subjects engross his attention, and excite inquiry; but that for this he feels no concern, and that here he finds nothing to interest him! It is not unreasonable to suppose, that amidst all the other topics of wonder in this plan as seen by angels, this is not the least - that man by nature takes no interest in it; that in so stupendous a work, performed in his own world, he feels no concern; that he is unmoved when he is told that even God became incarnate, and appeared on the earth where he himself dwells; and that, busy and interested as he is in other things, often of a most trifling nature, he has no concern for that on which is suspended his own eternal happiness. If heaven was held in mute astonishment when the Son of God left the courts of glory to be poor, to be persecuted, to bleed, and to die, not less must be the astonishment than when, from those lofty heights, the angelic hosts look down upon a race unconcerned amidst wonders such as those of the incarnation and the atonement!
The prophets to whom these great scenes were revealed longed to understand their import. They “inquired and searched diligently: ... searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.... Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you; ... which things the angels desire to look into.” 1 Peter 1:10-12. Ed 183.1
To us who are standing on the very verge of their fulfillment, of what deep moment, what living interest, are these delineations of the things to come—events for which, since our first parents turned their steps from Eden, God's children have watched and waited, longed and prayed! Ed 183.2
At this time, before the great final crisis, as before the world's first destruction, men are absorbed in the pleasures and the pursuits of sense. Engrossed with the seen and transitory, they have lost sight of the unseen and eternal. For the things that perish with the using, they are sacrificing imperishable riches. Their minds need to be uplifted, their views of life to be broadened. They need to be aroused from the lethargy of worldly dreaming. Ed 183.3
From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the pages of Holy Writ, they need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and its magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass” it has perished. So perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose and expresses His character can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. Ed 183.4Read in context »
Even the prophets who were favored with the special illumination of the Spirit did not fully comprehend the import of the revelations committed to them. The meaning was to be unfolded from age to age, as the people of God should need the instruction therein contained. GC 344.1
Peter, writing of the salvation brought to light through the gospel, says: Of this salvation “the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister.” 1 Peter 1:10-12. GC 344.2
Yet while it was not given to the prophets to understand fully the things revealed to them, they earnestly sought to obtain all the light which God had been pleased to make manifest. They “inquired and searched diligently,” “searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.” What a lesson to the people of God in the Christian age, for whose benefit these prophecies were given to His servants! “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister.” Witness those holy men of God as they “inquired and searched diligently” concerning revelations given them for generations that were yet unborn. Contrast their holy zeal with the listless unconcern with which the favored ones of later ages treat this gift of Heaven. What a rebuke to the ease-loving, world-loving indifference which is content to declare that the prophecies cannot be understood! GC 344.3
Though the finite minds of men are inadequate to enter into the counsels of the Infinite One, or to understand fully the working out of His purposes, yet often it is because of some error or neglect on their own part that they so dimly comprehend the messages of Heaven. Not infrequently the minds of the people, and even of God's servants, are so blinded by human opinions, the traditions and false teaching of men, that they are able only partially to grasp the great things which He has revealed in His word. Thus it was with the disciples of Christ, even when the Saviour was with them in person. Their minds had become imbued with the popular conception of the Messiah as a temporal prince, who was to exalt Israel to the throne of the universal empire, and they could not understand the meaning of His words foretelling His sufferings and death. GC 344.4Read in context »
Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.... Which things the angels desire to look into. 1 Peter 1:10-12. Mar 366.1Read in context »
There every power will be developed, every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will appear new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects of study to call forth the powers of body and mind and soul. PK 731.1
The prophets to whom these great scenes were revealed longed to understand their full import. They “inquired and searched diligently: ... searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.... Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you.” 1 Peter 1:10-12. PK 731.2
To us who are standing on the very verge of their fulfillment, of what deep moment, what living interest, are these delineations of the things to come—events for which, since our first parents turned their steps from Eden, God's children have watched and waited, longed and prayed! PK 731.3
Fellow pilgrim, we are still amid the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities; but soon our Saviour is to appear to bring deliverance and rest. Let us by faith behold the blessed hereafter as pictured by the hand of God. He who died for the sins of the world is opening wide the gates of Paradise to all who believe on Him. Soon the battle will have been fought, the victory won. Soon we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in His presence the trials and sufferings of this life will seem as nothingness. The former things “shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” “Israel shall be saved ... with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” Isaiah 65:17; Hebrews 10:35-37; Isaiah 45:17. PK 731.4Read in context »
Faith Not to Rest on Evidences of Sight—Before Christ left heaven and came into the world to die, He was taller than any of the angels. He was majestic and lovely. But when His ministry commenced, He was but little taller than the common size of men then living upon the earth. Had He come among men with His noble, heavenly form, His outward appearance would have attracted the minds of the people to Himself, and He would have been received without the exercise of faith.... 7BC 904.1
The faith of men in Christ as the Messiah was not to rest on the evidences of sight, and they believe on Him because of His personal attractions, but because of the excellence of character found in Him, which never had been found, neither could be, in another (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:39). 7BC 904.2
(Colossians 2:9; Ephesians 3:9; 1 Peter 1:11, 12.) The Mystery Into Which Angels Desire to Look—In Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead. But the only way in which He could reach men was to veil His glory by a garb of humanity. The angels beheld the hiding of His glory, that divinity might touch humanity. Christ ever retained the utmost hatred for sin, but He loved the purchase of His blood. He suffered in the place of sinful men, taking them into union with Himself. 7BC 904.3
This is the mystery into which angels desire to look. They desire to know how Christ could live and work in a fallen world, how He could mingle with sinful humanity. It was a mystery to them that He who hated sin with intense hatred felt the most tender, compassionate sympathy for the beings that committed sin (The Signs of the Times, January 20, 1898). 7BC 904.4
(Colossians 1:26, 27.) An Unexplainable Blending—Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human. The limited capacity of man cannot define this wonderful mystery—the blending of the two natures, the divine and the human. It can never be explained. Man must wonder and be silent. And yet man is privileged to be a partaker of the divine nature, and in this way he can to some degree enter into the mystery (Letter 5, 1889). 7BC 904.5
The Most Marvelous Thing in Earth or Heaven—When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven—the incarnation of the Son of God. God gave His Son to die for sinful human beings a death of ignominy and shame. He who was Commander in the heavenly courts laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and clothing His divinity with humanity, came to this world to stand at the head of the human race as the pattern-man. He humbled Himself to suffer with the race, to be afflicted in all their afflictions. 7BC 904.6
The whole world was His, but so completely did He empty Himself that during His ministry He declared, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” [Hebrews 2:14-18 quoted] (Manuscript 76, 1903). 7BC 904.7
Christ Above All Law—The Son of God came voluntarily to accomplish the work of atonement. There was no obligatory yoke upon Him; for He was independent and above all law. 7BC 904.8
The angels, as God's intelligent messengers, were under the yoke of obligation; no personal sacrifice of theirs could atone for fallen man. Christ alone was free from the claims of the law to undertake the redemption of the sinful race. He had power to lay down His life and to take it up again. “Being in the form of God,” He “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (The Watchman, September 4, 1906). 7BC 904.9
(Exodus 3:5.) Christ's Humanity a Golden Chain—To redeem man, Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden linked chain which binds our souls to Christ and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man, and He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. And He was God in the flesh. 7BC 904.10
When we approach the subject of Christ's divinity clothed with the garb of humanity, we may appropriately heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” We must come to the study of this subject with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, and will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth (Manuscript 67, 1898). 7BC 904.11Read in context »
Compare the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for His sheep, with those who are filled with self-esteem, puffed up, dictatorial, loving to rule in the church. The prophets have specified Christ's attributes. They foretold Him as a gentle Shepherd, who would carry the lambs in His bosom. There are others pointed out by prophecy, who have accepted the position of leaders and religious instructors, whom the Word of God rebukes for their neglect, in their ignorance, to do the work which they should have been doing in their places of responsibility (Manuscript 176, 1898). 7BC 915.1
16 (Colossians 1:26, 27; Romans 16:25; see EGW on John 1:1-3, 14; 2 Timothy 3:16). Beyond the Ken of Man—Great is the mystery of godliness. There are mysteries in the life of Christ that are to be believed, even though they cannot be explained. The finite mind cannot fathom the mystery of godliness (Letter 65, 1905). 7BC 915.2
(1 Peter 1:11, 12.) The Incarnation a Painful Process—The work of redemption is called a mystery, and it is indeed the mystery by which everlasting righteousness is brought to all who believe. The race in consequence of sin was at enmity with God. Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity, laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem. In human flesh He lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who obey. But the same infinite sacrifice that is life to those who believe is a testimony of condemnation to the disobedient, speaking death and not life (Manuscript 29, 1899). 7BC 915.3Read in context »
Praise the Lord in the congregation of His people. When the word of the Lord was spoken to the Hebrews anciently, the command was: “And let all the people say, Amen.” When the ark of the covenant was brought into the city of David, and a psalm of joy and triumph was chanted, “all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.” This fervent response was an evidence that they understood the word spoken and joined in the worship of God. 5T 318.1
There is too much formality in our religious services. The Lord would have His ministers who preach the word energized by His Holy Spirit; and the people who hear should not sit in drowsy indifference, or stare vacantly about, making no responses to what is said. The impression that is thus given to the unbeliever is anything but favorable for the religion of Christ. These dull, careless professed Christians are not destitute of ambition and zeal when engaged in worldly business; but things of eternal importance do not move them deeply. The voice of God through His messengers may be a pleasant song; but its sacred warnings, reproofs, and encouragements are all unheeded. The spirit of the world has paralyzed them. The truths of God's word are spoken to leaden ears and hard, unimpressible hearts. There should be wide-awake, active churches to encourage and uphold the ministers of Christ and to aid them in the work of saving souls. Where the church is walking in the light, there will ever be cheerful, hearty responses and words of joyful praise. 5T 318.2
Our God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, declares: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me.” All heaven unite in praising God. Let us learn the song of the angels now, that we may sing it when we join their shining ranks. Let us say with the psalmist: “While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” “Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee.” 5T 318.3Read in context »
Men who imagine themselves endowed with mental powers of so high an order that they can find an explanation of all the ways and works of God, are seeking to exalt human wisdom to an equality with the divine and to glorify man as God. They are only repeating that which Satan declared to Eve in Eden: “Ye shall be as gods.” Satan fell because of his ambition to be equal with God. He desired to enter into the divine counsels and purposes, from which he was excluded by his own inability, as a created being, to comprehend the wisdom of the Infinite One. It was this ambitious pride that led to his rebellion, and by the same means he seeks to cause the ruin of man. 5T 702.1
There are mysteries in the plan of redemption—the humiliation of the Son of God, that He might be found in fashion as a man, the wonderful love and condescension of the Father in yielding up His Son—that are to the heavenly angels subjects of continual amazement. The apostle Peter, speaking of the revelations given to the prophets of “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow,” says that these are things which “the angels desire to look into.” And these will be the study of the redeemed through eternal ages. As they contemplate the work of God in creation and redemption, new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted mind. As they learn more and more of the wisdom, the love, and the power of God, their minds will be constantly expanding, and their joy will continually increase. 5T 702.2Read in context »
The significance of the Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended. Truths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols. The gospel is the key that unlocks its mysteries. Through a knowledge of the plan of redemption, its truths are opened to the understanding. Far more than we do, it is our privilege to understand these wonderful themes. We are to comprehend the deep things of God. Angels desire to look into the truths that are revealed to the people who with contrite hearts are searching the word of God, and praying for greater lengths and breadths and depths and heights of the knowledge which He alone can give. COL 133.1
As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies relating to the last days especially demand our study. The last book of the New Testament scriptures is full of truth that we need to understand. Satan has blinded the minds of many, so that they have been glad of any excuse for not making the Revelation their study. But Christ through His servant John has here declared what shall be in the last days, and He says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. COL 133.2
“This is life eternal,” Christ said, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” John 17:3. Why is it that we do not realize the value of this knowledge? Why are not these glorious truths glowing in our hearts, trembling upon our lips, and pervading our whole being? COL 133.3
In giving us His word, God has put us in possession of every truth essential for our salvation. Thousands have drawn water from these wells of life, yet there is no diminishing of the supply. Thousands have set the Lord before them, and by beholding have been changed into the same image. Their spirit burns within them as they speak of His character, telling what Christ is to them, and what they are to Christ. But these searchers have not exhausted these grand and holy themes. Thousands more may engage in the work of searching out the mysteries of salvation. As the life of Christ and the character of His mission are dwelt upon, rays of light will shine forth more distinctly at every attempt to discover truth. Each fresh search will reveal something more deeply interesting than has yet been unfolded. The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last; and looking to heaven with its unnumbered years he will exclaim, “Great is the mystery of godliness.” COL 133.4Read in context »
“His name shall be called Immanuel, ... God with us.” “The light of the knowledge of the glory of God” is seen “in the face of Jesus Christ.” From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was “the image of God,” the image of His greatness and majesty, “the outshining of His glory.” It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God's love,—to be “God with us.” Therefore it was prophesied of Him, “His name shall be called Immanuel.” DA 19.1
By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God,—God's thought made audible. In His prayer for His disciples He says, “I have declared unto them Thy name,”—“merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”—“that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God's wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which “angels desire to look,” and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which “seeketh not her own” has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto. DA 19.2Read in context »
With the word of God in his hands, every human being, wherever his lot in life may be cast, may have such companionship as he shall choose. In its pages he may hold converse with the noblest and best of the human race, and may listen to the voice of the Eternal as He speaks with men. As he studies and meditates upon the themes into which “the angels desire to look” (1 Peter 1:12), he may have their companionship. He may follow the steps of the heavenly Teacher, and listen to His words as when He taught on mountain and plain and sea. He may dwell in this world in the atmosphere of heaven, imparting to earth's sorrowing and tempted ones thoughts of hope and longings for holiness; himself coming closer and still closer into fellowship with the Unseen; like him of old who walked with God, drawing nearer and nearer the threshold of the eternal world, until the portals shall open, and he shall enter there. He will find himself no stranger. The voices that will greet him are the voices of the holy ones, who, unseen, were on earth his companions—voices that here he learned to distinguish and to love. He who through the word of God has lived in fellowship with heaven, will find himself at home in heaven's companionship. Ed 127.1Read in context »
“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Matthew 20:28. Christ's work below is His work above, and our reward for working with Him in this world will be the greater power and wider privilege of working with Him in the world to come. Ed 308.1
“Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” Isaiah 43:12. This also we shall be in eternity. Ed 308.2
For what was the great controversy permitted to continue throughout the ages? Why was it that Satan's existence was not cut short at the outset of his rebellion? It was that the universe might be convinced of God's justice in His dealing with evil; that sin might receive eternal condemnation. In the plan of redemption there are heights and depths that eternity itself can never exhaust, marvels into which the angels desire to look. The redeemed only, of all created beings, have in their own experience known the actual conflict with sin; they have wrought with Christ, and, as even the angels could not do, have entered into the fellowship of His sufferings; will they have no testimony as to the science of redemption—nothing that will be of worth to unfallen beings? Ed 308.3
Even now, “unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places” is “made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God.” And He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places: ... that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 3:10, R.V.; 2:6, 7. Ed 308.4
“In His temple doth everyone speak of His glory” (Psalm 29:9), and the song which the ransomed ones will sing—the song of their experience—will declare the glory of God: “Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the ages. Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy.” Revelation 15:3, 4, R.V. Ed 308.5Read in context »
The more we consider this subject, the greater depths we find, and yet there are depths that we do not reach as we study the Redeemer's glory. It is the glory of the Prince of life, and the mightiest powers of man cannot reach it. The angels themselves desire to look into this mysterious and wonderful theme, the redemption of the human race. FLB 76.5Read in context »
The Jewish rabbis presented the requirements of the law as a wearing round of exactions. They did just what Satan is doing in our day,—presented the law before the people as a cold, rigid code of commands and traditions. Superstitions buried the light, the glory, the dignity, and far-reaching claims of the law of God. They professed to speak to the people in the place of God. After the transgression of Adam, the Lord spoke no longer directly with man; the human race was given into the hands of Christ, and all communication came through Him to the world. It was Christ who spoke the law on Mount Sinai, and He knew the bearing of all its precepts, the glory and majesty of the law of heaven. In His sermon on the mount, Christ defines the law, and seeks to inculcate in the minds of His hearers the far-reaching claims of the precepts of Jehovah. His instructions came as a new revelation to the people; and the teachers of the law, the scribes and the Pharisees, as well as the common people, were astonished at His doctrine. The words of Christ were not new, and yet they came with the force of revelation; for they presented the truth in its proper light, and not in the light in which the teachers had set it before the people. He showed no regard for the traditions and commandments of men, but opened the eyes of their understanding to behold wondrous things out of the law of God, which is the foundation of His throne from the beginning of the world; and as long as the heavens and the earth remain, through the ceaseless ages of eternity, it will be the great standard of righteousness, holy and just and good. FE 237.1Read in context »
Thus those who were studying the subject found indisputable proof of the existence of a sanctuary in heaven. Moses made the earthly sanctuary after a pattern which was shown him. Paul teaches that that pattern was the true sanctuary which is in heaven. And John testifies that he saw it in heaven. GC 415.1
In the temple in heaven, the dwelling place of God, His throne is established in righteousness and judgment. In the most holy place is His law, the great rule of right by which all mankind are tested. The ark that enshrines the tables of the law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner's behalf. Thus is represented the union of justice and mercy in the plan of human redemption. This union infinite wisdom alone could devise and infinite power accomplish; it is a union that fills all heaven with wonder and adoration. The cherubim of the earthly sanctuary, looking reverently down upon the mercy seat, represent the interest with which the heavenly host contemplate the work of redemption. This is the mystery of mercy into which angels desire to look—that God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinner and renews His intercourse with the fallen race; that Christ could stoop to raise unnumbered multitudes from the abyss of ruin and clothe them with the spotless garments of His own righteousness to unite with angels who have never fallen and to dwell forever in the presence of God. GC 415.2
The work of Christ as man's intercessor is presented in that beautiful prophecy of Zechariah concerning Him “whose name is the Branch.” Says the prophet: “He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His [the Father's] throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between Them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13. GC 415.3Read in context »
The standard by which to measure character is the royal law. The law is the sin detector. By the law is the knowledge of sin. But the sinner is constantly being drawn to Jesus by the wonderful manifestation of His love in that He humiliated Himself to die a shameful death upon the cross. What a study is this! Angels have striven, earnestly longed, to look into this wonderful mystery. It is a study that can tax the highest human intelligence, that man, fallen, deceived by Satan, taking Satan's side of the question, can be conformed to the image of the Son of the infinite God—that man shall be like Him, that, because of the righteousness of Christ given to man, God will love man, fallen but redeemed, even as He loved His Son. Read it right out of the living oracles. LHU 150.2Read in context »
The science of redemption is the science of all sciences, the science that is the study of the angels and of all the intelligences of the unfallen worlds, the science that engages the attention of our Lord and Saviour, the science that enters into the purpose brooded in the mind of the Infinite—“kept in silence through times eternal,” the science that will be the study of God's redeemed throughout the endless ages. This is the highest study in which it is possible for man to engage. As no other study can, it will quicken the mind and uplift the soul.... ML 360.2
The theme of redemption is one that angels desire to look into; it will be the science and the song of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Is it not worthy of careful thought and study now? ... ML 360.3
The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice, and mediatorial work will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last; and looking to heaven with its unnumbered years, he will exclaim, “Great is the mystery of godliness.” ML 360.4
In eternity we shall learn that which, had we received the enlightenment that it was possible to obtain here, would have opened our understanding. The themes of redemption will employ the hearts and minds and tongues of the redeemed through the everlasting ages. They will understand the truths which Christ longed to open to His disciples, but which they did not have faith to grasp. Forever and forever new views of the perfection and glory of Christ will appear. Through endless ages the faithful Householder will bring forth from His treasures things new and old. ML 360.5
Since God is infinite, and in Him are all the treasures of wisdom, we may to all eternity be ever searching, ever learning, yet never exhaust the riches of His wisdom, His goodness, or His power. ML 360.6Read in context »
There are, in the Christian faith, subjects upon which every one should accustom his mind to dwell. The love of Jesus, which passeth knowledge, His sufferings for the fallen race, His work of mediation in our behalf, and His exalted glory—these are the mysteries into which angels desired to look. Heavenly beings find in these themes enough to attract and engage their deepest thoughts; and shall we, who are so intimately concerned, manifest less interest than the angels, in the wonders of redeeming love? OHC 111.5Read in context »
Heavenly beings were witnesses of the scene as the faith of Abraham and the submission of Isaac were tested. The trial was far more severe than that which had been brought upon Adam. Compliance with the prohibition laid upon our first parents involved no suffering, but the command to Abraham demanded the most agonizing sacrifice. All heaven beheld with wonder and admiration Abraham's unfaltering obedience. All heaven applauded his fidelity. Satan's accusations were shown to be false. God declared to His servant, “Now I know that thou fearest God [notwithstanding Satan's charges], seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.” God's covenant, confirmed to Abraham by an oath before the intelligences of other worlds, testified that obedience will be rewarded. PP 155.1
It had been difficult even for the angels to grasp the mystery of redemption—to comprehend that the Commander of heaven, the Son of God, must die for guilty man. When the command was given to Abraham to offer up his son, the interest of all heavenly beings was enlisted. With intense earnestness they watched each step in the fulfillment of this command. When to Isaac's question, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham made answer, “God will provide Himself a lamb;” and when the father's hand was stayed as he was about to slay his son, and the ram which God had provided was offered in the place of Isaac—then light was shed upon the mystery of redemption, and even the angels understood more clearly the wonderful provision that God had made for man's salvation. 1 Peter 1:12. PP 155.2Read in context »
The Mystery of Godliness—The standard by which to measure character is the royal law. The law is the sin detector. By the law is the knowledge of sin. But the sinner is constantly being drawn to Jesus by the wonderful manifestation of His love in that He humiliated Himself to die a shameful death upon the cross. What a study is this! Angels have striven, earnestly longed, to look into the wonderful mystery. It is a study that can tax the highest human intelligence, that man, fallen, deceived by Satan, taking Satan's side of the question, can be conformed to the image of the Son of the infinite God. That man shall be like Him, that, because of the righteousness of Christ given to man, God will love man—fallen but redeemed—even as He loved His Son. Read it right out of the living oracles. 3SM 169.1Read in context »
Never are we absent from the mind of God. God is our joy and our salvation. Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). “Not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). 3SM 338.1Read in context »
The Lord Jehovah did not deem the plan of salvation complete while invested only with His own love. By His appointment He has placed at His altar an Advocate clothed with our nature. As our Intercessor, Christ's office work is to introduce us to God as His sons and daughters. SD 22.2
Christ has pledged Himself to be our substitute and surety, and He neglects no one. There is an inexhaustible fund of perfect obedience accruing from His obedience. In heaven His merits, His self-denial and self-sacrifice, are treasured as incense to be offered up with the prayers of His people. As the sinner's sincere, humble prayers ascend to the throne of God, Christ mingles with them the merits of His own life of perfect obedience. Our prayers are made fragrant by this incense. Christ has pledged Himself to intercede in our behalf, and the Father always hears the Son. SD 22.3
This is the mystery of godliness. That Christ should take human nature, and by a life of humiliation elevate man in the scale of moral worth with God: that He should carry His adopted nature to the throne of God, and there present His children to the Father, to have conferred upon them an honor exceeding that conferred upon the angels,—this is the marvel of the heavenly universe, the mystery into which angels desire to look. This is love that melts the sinner's heart.49Ellen G. White Manuscript 21, 1900. SD 22.4
He who could not see human beings exposed to destruction without pouring out His soul unto death to save them from eternal ruin, will look with pity and compassion upon every soul who realizes that he can not save himself.50The General Conference Bulletin, October 1, 1899. SD 22.5
Christ is your Advocate. In this powerful, hearty recognition of God's love, take the hand of Christ, and hold it fast. His hand holds you much firmer than you can hold His hand.51Letter 182, 1901. SD 22.6Read in context »
Jesus said of the Old Testament Scriptures,—and how much more is it true of the New,—“They are they which testify of Me,” the Redeemer, Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. John 5:39. Yes, the whole Bible tells of Christ. From the first record of creation—for “without Him was not anything made that was made”—to the closing promise, “Behold, I come quickly,” we are reading of His works and listening to His voice. John 1:3; Revelation 22:12. If you would become acquainted with the Saviour, study the Holy Scriptures. SC 88.1
Fill the whole heart with the words of God. They are the living water, quenching your burning thirst. They are the living bread from heaven. Jesus declares, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” And He explains Himself by saying, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:53, 63. Our bodies are built up from what we eat and drink; and as in the natural economy, so in the spiritual economy: it is what we meditate upon that will give tone and strength to our spiritual nature. SC 88.2
The theme of redemption is one that the angels desire to look into; it will be the science and the song of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Is it not worthy of careful thought and study now? The infinite mercy and love of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, call for the most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should meditate upon the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins. As we thus contemplate heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger, and our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God, because they will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and a daily, living experience in His power to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. SC 88.3Read in context »
The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgments for disobedience and transgression until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ's righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel. 6T 19.1
There is no work in our world so great, so sacred, and so glorious, no work that God honors so much, as this gospel work. The message presented at this time is the last message of mercy for a fallen world. Those who have the privilege of hearing this message, and who persist in refusing to heed the warning, cast away their last hope of salvation. There will be no second probation. 6T 19.2
The word of truth, “It is written,” is the gospel we are to preach. No flaming sword is placed before this tree of life. All who will may partake of it. There is no power that can prohibit any soul from taking of its fruit. All may eat, and live forever. 6T 19.3
Mysteries into which angels desire to look, which prophets and kings and righteous men desired to understand, the remnant church will carry in messages from God to the world. The prophets prophesied of these things, and they longed to understand that which they foretold; but to them this privilege was not given. They longed to see what we see, and to hear what we hear; but they could not. They will know all when Christ shall come the second time; when, surrounded by a multitude which no man can number, He explains the deliverance wrought out by the great sacrifice He made. 6T 19.4Read in context »
One part of the ministry of heavenly angels is to visit our world and oversee the work of the Lord in the hands of His stewards. In every time of necessity they minister to those who as co-workers with God are striving to carry forward His work in the earth. These heavenly intelligences are represented as desiring to look into the plan of redemption, and they rejoice whenever any part of God's work prospers. 6T 456.1
Angels are interested in the spiritual welfare of all who are seeking to restore God's moral image in man; and the earthly family are to connect with the heavenly family in binding up the wounds and bruises that sin has made. Angelic agencies, though invisible, are co-operating with visible human agencies, forming a relief association with men. The very angels who, when Satan was seeking the supremacy, fought the battle in the heavenly courts and triumphed on the side of God, the very angels who shouted for joy over the creation of our world and its sinless inhabitants, the angels who witnessed the fall of man and his expulsion from his Eden home..these very heavenly messengers are most intensely interested to work in union with the fallen, redeemed race for the salvation of human beings perishing in their sins. 6T 456.2
Human agencies are the hands of heavenly instrumentalities, for heavenly angels employ human hands in practical ministry. Human agencies as hand helpers are to work out the knowledge and use the facilities of heavenly beings. By uniting with these powers that are omnipotent, we are benefited by their higher education and experience. Thus as we become partakers of the divine nature, and separate selfishness from our lives, special talents for helping one another are granted us. This is heaven's way of administering saving power. 6T 456.3Read in context »
Those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God will bring from the books of Daniel and Revelation truth that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. They will start into action forces that cannot be repressed. The lips of children will be opened to proclaim the mysteries that have been hidden from the minds of men. TM 116.1
We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Many of the prophecies are about to be fulfilled in quick succession. Every element of power is about to be set to work. Past history will be repeated; old controversies will arouse to new life, and peril will beset God's people on every side. Intensity is taking hold of the human family. It is permeating everything upon the earth.... TM 116.2
Study Revelation in connection with Daniel, for history will be repeated.... We, with all our religious advantages, ought to know far more today than we do know. TM 116.3
Angels desire to look into the truths that are revealed to the people who with contrite hearts are searching the word of God and praying for greater lengths and breadths and depths and heights of the knowledge which He alone can give. TM 116.4
As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies relating to the last days especially demand our study. The last book of the New Testament Scriptures is full of truth that we need to understand. Satan has blinded the minds of many so that they have been glad of any excuse for not making the Revelation their study. But Christ through His servant John has here declared what shall be in the last days; and He says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” TM 116.5Read in context »